Angus Stone is undeniably cool. When we speak about his music project Dope Lemon, he is reserved and considered with his responses, determined to let the songs speak for themselves.
According to Angus Stone, Smooth Big Cat is a record best listened to with a glass of whiskey in hand. We spoke about touring, his cottage-turned-studio, the origin of the elusive Smooth Big Cat, and Dope Lemon’s trip to Adelaide in August.
Let’s get straight into it – the second studio album is set to be released in July. I’ve had a listen and it’s fantastic. Which song are you most excited to play live?
Salt & Pepper, for sure. There’s just something about it way that it came together that was really special. We were just looking at each other and it felt great. Those moments are rare and really exciting.
Talk to me about the writing process.
I played all the instruments on the record which is something new for me. A lot of the time it was myself and the engineer. I’d sit up late and drink whiskey and enjoy just being free. The record unravelled in a really cool way.
You’re playing Splendour which is super exciting. What are you most looking forward to about it?
Splendour is great fun. I usually put on a bit of a party that weekend. We have some beers and then head to the festival so it’ll be fun to play this year. It’s a really cool line up.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Chill out, have some beers, and hang out with friends. I like to appreciate sharing music with all the people who’ve found a connection with what we do.
I’ve heard that you recorded the album in a cottage-turned-studio. Can you describe the space and what it’s like recording there?
Yeah, it’s essentially an old cottage on the property that I converted into a recording studio. I find recording at home is really relaxing. It’s that privilege of comfort.
Let’s talk about the music video for Hey You. It’s very cool. Where did the idea come from?
I had this idea for these mascot cat heads, like the sort you see in the NFL or the AFL. I thought it would be cool to buy about sixteen for the video. The actual record is based on a character called Smooth Big Cat. The Hey You video follows all of the cats as they come together to escape from their monotonous lives and head to the pub to watch Dope Lemon play.
Tell me about Smooth Big Cat.
He’s this fictional character I made up for one of the songs. Over the duration the of record, he became this sort of elusive personality. He doesn’t have stakes in all the nonsense that goes on and turns up at the times when you need to take a step back.
How does Dope Lemon differ to Angus and Julia Stone?
It’s different in the way that every project is different. I’m constantly evolving and changing as a human being.
Music or lyrics first?
Every song is different. Often, I sit down on the piano and start to piece the song together in that way.
What’s it like touring with Dope Lemon?
So much fun. It’s a bunch of mates who are also incredible musicians. They’re friends from New York, Melbourne, Berlin … it’s great.
What’s the best thing about visiting Adelaide?
Last time Dope Lemon was in Adelaide was for WOMAD. The Botanic Garden is stunning and it was such a pleasant time of the year. I love the city.
Where is the best place to listen to the album?
I’d say lying down on a nice rug with a whiskey in one hand and a smoke in the other, perhaps with a group of friends.
Must-have food on tour?
Whiskey. That’s my go to.
What’s on the cards for Dope Lemon going forward?
It’ll be what it is. We’re going to be touring around the world come August/September. We’ll play some festivals. Next year we’ll think about doing it all over again.
Dope Lemon’s new album Smooth Big Cat will be released on Friday 12 July. Dope Lemon will also be in Adelaide later this year, with a performance at HQ on Thursday 15 August.
You can follow Dope Lemon here.